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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  August 30, 2012 1:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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deal? >> sure. >> tom tarantino, thank you so much. thank you for being with me. it has been incredible being at the center of the republican convention. huge, huge coverage, obviously, tonight beginning at:00. wolf blitzer and the rest of the political a-team covering mitt romney, and the myriad of speeches tonight from the forum. speaking of mr. blitzer, let's go to him live in tampa. your "situation room" begins right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> you're looking at live pictures from the convention floor. that's the presidential and vice presidential team right there and you're looking at mitt romney and paul ryan to take a look, and of course, we'll be delivering a huge, hge speech tonight. it's his acceptance speech and he's taking a look at the podium and taking a look at the floor and getting a sense of this tampa bay times forum. there they are. the republican presidential nominee and the vice
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presidential nominee, paul ryan. paul ryan delivering his acceptance speech last night getting pretty positive reviews although there were some questions about elements of it, as well. these are some top members of the campaign staff that have worked so, so hard this romney-ryan campaign team. they've been working really hard and the presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidate, basically going out there to thank them all for what they've been doing and to see some faces out there that are familiar. these are the people that have worked so hard over these past, many, many months. you see eric in the back there with the glasses who was very instrumental in trying to get the former massachusetts governor, not only thepuan ntio eebtally the white house, the number six is the election. jim acosta is on the convention floor. as we're looking at these pictures, these are live pictures of the two men walking around. jim, you've been covering them almost from day one. >> that's right. that's right. this is sort of a "thank you"
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from mitt romney and paul ryan to the staff. you mentioned top campaign advisers who worked with them on a daily basis and behind me, wolf, are the young men and women on the campaign trail every day working very hard and advanced team members that us reporters get very familiar with out on the campaign trail. so sort of a gesture of gratitude from the candidates to his young campaign staff and i've been talking to romney advisers today. they are signaling that the gop nominee may be delivering tough lines aimed at the president tonight and he will also lay out a vision of the future and millions of them will be taking a trip into romney's past and this is an equivalent of mitt romney, this is your life. ♪ ♪ ♪ the speeches for the campaign trail were only the warm-up for what was hours away, when mitt romney will accept the republican party's nomination
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for president. earlier in the day more than 100 family members of both romney and his wife who came in from across the country sat on the convention floor, waiting their turn for the ultimate political souvenir, photographs on stage. >> did you see this in him growing up? >> you know, when i was 12 and he was 6, no. later on as time went by i saw him grow into a spectacular leader. >> the gop nominee's older brother, scott romney hopes they get a closer look at the man whooez known all his life. >> what should the country know about their brother that they don't already know? >> i think they know a lotta will ready about him and they'll know more about what a warm, caring person he is and what a leader he can be and he's been able to fix anything he's ever done and he'll be able to do something to fix this country. >> reporter: it was as though his life has been building up for this moment, the man who lost a senate race to ted kennedy only to turn around the
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olympic games and launch a successful run for governor and finally his own white house ambitions. ♪ in contrast to the red meat speech delivered by romney's running mate, paul ryan. >> without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years? >> this night will show the softer side of romney. members of his mormon church from boston and also in the lineup, olympic athletes from the salt lake city games romney helped rescue. >> when they came in and did the things that he did and put his team together to make it one of the most successful olympics of all modern time that was proof for us that he was really behind us. >> reporter: the campaign's goal to show that behind the rallies, attack ads and the gaffes. >> i like to be able to fire people that provide services to me. >> i think people will look at what he's done as a businessman, what he's done in the olympics and what he's done as governor of massachusetts, what his
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family is like and what he's like as a family man and they'll see the mitt romney they haven't seen yet. >> reporter: after tonight mitt romney is not going to get much rest. he has campaign events scheduled in florida, virginia and ohio. a sign that this campaign knows they have a small wind over opportunity to continue to get their message out before the president has his own convention, but for now, wolf, we are waiting for mitt romney to come out one more time and do a mike check at the podium and it's about six hours until game time. wolf? >> and he's going to be coming out at some point later tonight. he's got a special surprise guest that he's going to be bringing out as well. we've got some indication who that person is. do you want to share with our viewers? >> reporter: that's right. none other than clint eastwood, wolf. so i'm pretty sure, if i may use a pun here that i hope you won't hold against me, but i think it will make romney's day, wolf. >> i won't hold it against you at all. stand by for a moment because
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candy crowley is here as well and i want to bring her into the conversation and keep you in the conversation. it's sort of the question everybody always asks, but i want to ask you, what does he need to do tonight? >> i think in addition to what he has been talking about which is this is his biggest audience and this is time for him to talk about who he is as opposed to the commercials and everybody else talking about him. this is his big moment and his biggest audience ever, but in addition to this, we've seen this buildup to his speech and we heard paul ryan talk about the need for big ideas and bringing up some of the subjects and now mitt romney needs to not just introduce himself to those who don't know him in a way that suggests that he understands the problems of middle-class americans, and here's the direction i would head. >> and he's going to be introduced by florida senator marco rubio. very popular, home state of florida here in tampa. what are you hearing about that introduction, if you will? >> i am told that rubio will
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talk and as many followed him over the past several years it will sound quite familiar because he will talk about being the son of exiles from cuba, about growing up in an exile community who knows what it's like to lose the country that they love, and he's going to talk aut if there is not a change of course in america that this generation will hand to the next generation a diminished country and mitt romney is the guy that can turn this around. he will talk about it not just because he's a great leader, but he's a great dad, great husband, great community leader as well as well as a leader in his religious community, so it will be -- marco rubio's america as seen through his eyes growing up in a community of exiles and talk about american exceptionalism in the sense of this is the one country you can come to with dreams and pass those dreams along to your children, et cetera, et cetera. >> jim, last night paul ryan's speech was obviously very, very well received by this crowd in
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tampa and certainly by republicans across the country. whether or not you take issue with some of the factual points in that speech, he did deliver oratorically a powerful speech. is there any concern inside the romney campaign that paul ryan potentially could overshadow mitt romney? >> reporter: the last thing that they want, wolf, is a situation where they have fire and ice, paul ryan being the fire and mitt romney being the ice. just to get back to what candy was saying we'll see the totality of mitt romney's life laid out on the stage. you're going to see members of mitt romney's church in boston, the mormon church in boston come out ask talk about how he helped them in personal crises and that's not an area that this campaign has been eager to go to and they brushed off reporters in the past who wanted to talk about this subject. they will talk about his faith and i've had the chance to stand
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next to the romney and the davis family, ann romney's family who came from all over the country and the two things they want to get out tonight are family and faith in addition for his vision for the future and that is something that stu stephen, a senior romney adviser told me. you will hear about mitt romney's vision for the future in ways that he has not explained before. >> it will be a powerful moment at the end of romney's speech tonight, candy. we've seen it before and romney will be there and i'm sure paul ryan will come out, and their wives will come out and their children will come out and grandchildren in romney's specific case, and paul ryan's mom and we'll see a huge celebration on that state that will go on and on. >> that's what this is about. it is a big party and it is a way -- i mean, once you bring out the grandchildren and the children, it really is a visual way for people to relate. like here is a family, you know? one of the things that was such a big hit when president obama
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was then candidate obama was those two daughters of his that are darling and they come out and they just tend to warm up a politician who can't necessarily do it for himself. >> we'll be watching that and he'll be up on the podium and he'll have a closer look. >> if the stage is big enough for all that family. >> you'll be there as you always are and jim acosta will be out on the convention floor for us. we will stay all over this story, obviously. a huge, huge, political day. historic political day and also another story we're following and no one's mind is far away from the gulf coast right now. it's been nearly two days since isaac made landfall there and the assault is still being felt. the storm claimed its first fatality, a man killed by a falling tree. mandatory evacuations are in place in parts of louisiana and mississippi due to a potential dam failure. officials are intentionally breaching it to relief some of the water pressure and in other dangerously flood-prone areas,
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some residents are stranded. that said, there is also some good news. new orleans appears to have bypassed the brunt of the storm. the $14 million levee system rebuilt in katrina's wake several years ago appears to be holding and the city is reporting relatively minor damage. so what will americans learn about mitt romney later tonight that they don't already know? just ahead, i'll speak with two people who know him very well. they were also on his vice presidential short list. the former minnesota governor tim pawlenty and the ohio senator ron portman and they'll both be here with me. plus our own brian todd and they'll take a boat trip surveying one of the areas hardest hit by the storm along the gulf coast. thousands are still being threatened by some rising waters. go-gurt?
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you see him there. these are live pictures. he's up on the stage and he's getting ready for his big speech, the biggest speech of his political career. he'll be speaking and accepting the republican presidential nomination and he's trying to get a little flavor and there you see stewart stephens, one of his top advisers standing with him. it's not as easy as it looks to read the teleprompters. he's got the teleprompters on the side and he wants to deliver a speech as important as the speech is to the crowd inside here at the tampa bay times forum. with so much more important is how it comes across to the maybe 50 million americans who will be watching the speech especially those maybe 10% of the voters out there who are still either undecided or swihable as they say. our own jim acosta is on the floor and i don't know how close you are to the podm, jim, but give us a flavor of what's been going on for the last few minutes. >> i can tell you the podium actually came out of the stage.
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it rose from the floor and the convention officials added on to the stage to create a larger sort of platform for this program tonight, and i can tell you as mitt romney is getting ready to speak into the microphone, but if you look at the screen on the other side of the floor you can see what's on that teleprompter. it says four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent. that's the gettysburg address. all of the convention speakers who had their warm-ups have been warming up with the gettysburg address. fitting, of course, because he is the republican nominee. this is the republican convention and abraham lincoln am he pe cng out to him at this point. i'm not exactly clear what they're saying. i don't think those are protest, but i can also tell you that standing by his side is his body man garrett who is out on the campaign trail, and stu stephens
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are also up on the stage right now. those are his two senior advisers. stu stephens is integral in terms of the messaging and speech writing and stage crafting that goes on with this campaign, wolf. >> he's got a ton of experience. i want to keep this picture up and let our viewers see it. two guests are here. they spoke here at this republican convention. they have a feeling of what it's like to be up there and read the teleprompter. tim pawlenty is here and rob portman is here as well. let me start with senator portman as we look at these pictures and i want to keep those pictures up for viewers and what's is like up there? give us a little flavor what he's going to be doing tonight is much different from what you did this. give us a flavor for a speech like this. >> it's fun. it's fun. you have a stage that's larger than usual and you have an incredibly enthusiastic audience out there and i know what tim
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said was brilliant and what i said was okay and they respond favorably to anything you say. >> with all due respect, what you say here will not necessarily resonate as what the republican presidential candidate will say. >> you're not really speaking to the convention. you're speaking to the american people because so many more people will view it on television and certainly in prime time where governor romney will be able to talk about who he is and be able to talk about his plans for the future in ways that voters have not been able to see yet because folks are starting to pay more attention right now and there will be more coverage of this. so this is a great opportunity for him. i think he'll do great. >> governor pawlenty, you have insight on how much of the speech will be personal tonight? how much will be policy? how much will be tough? >> i don't have privy to the details of the speech, but i know thematic, wolf, what they'll show is to show a contrast between barack obama's failed presidency and the fact that we don't have an economy
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and opportunity measured for jobs and otherwise for people across the country and mitt romney's plan and vision to fix that and a goal of trying to connect and further introduce himself to people that haven't yet made up their mind and this is an opportunity for mitt romney to continue to introduce himself to the swing or hinge voters. >> paul ryan was very tough on the president. do you expect the presidential nominee to be as tough? does he leave that to others and the vice presidential attack dog as they like to say. >> barack obama has to share lumps here at the convention and i know rob made a few references to him and i did as well. i don't think u'll see the entirety of the speech and be focused on barack obama, and i think a big part of it will be what is he going to do to lead the country forward. >> i want to hold on for a moment and keep these pictures up and get himself adjusted and feel comfortable up on the podium as he gets ready to deliver the most important speech of his political career.
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jack cafferty is also standing by watch of this all of this unfold. jack, you have "the cafferty file" for us. >> it has been a long journey for mitt romney, after six years of running tonight he has what is probably his last best chance to this big an audience to persuade the american people that he ought to be our next president. >> although voters think romney is best equipped to deal with the nation's economy. it been an uphill battle when it comes to human things, connecting on a personal level with these voters. over the last few days, other speakers and most effectively his wife ann have made the case that romney is much more than a rich and seemingly emotionalless business executive with good hair. a lot of americans aren't convinced, though, they don't believe the guy with $200 million in the bank, offshore accounts, private tax returns understands what it's like for the common person who has to struggle. with that in mind, politico has some advice on how romney can make the best use of his convention speech tonight. for starters, they say he ought
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to go bold. that means not only pitching his plans for fixing our economic problems and also revealing some personal details that he hasn't shared with us before. things like his mormon faith, his near-death experience when he was in france and even what it was like when he had to shut down a plant when he was at bain capital. another suggestion is to go light on the red meat. that's what paul ryan is for and he did so quite handily and eloquently last night. and lastly, romney could talk about his relationship with his father, george romney, by giving some details and showing some emotion about what he learned from his dad. romney could show us a glimpse of the humanity that many have yet to see and some believe doesn't exist, but that those closest to him insist is there. the question is this. at this point, how well do you feel you know mitt romney? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the situation room's facebook page. >> good question, jack. thanks very much. let me go bacto the floor
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right now. jim accososta is standing by. you have more from the big speech. >> this is from the senior adviser eric furstrom. he will talk about his father according from this guidance from the campaign that he has three broad objectives and first is his vision for a better future and we talked about that a few moments ago and he'll also make the case according to eric furstrom against president obama for the failures as they refer to it over the last four years and he'll also talk about who he is and i'm just reading this off my iphone and there is a quote here, and i think you'll enjoy the speech and he's very happy with it and one thing we know is he always rises to the occasion and that's a quote from the senior adviser and it sounds like they're locked and loaded. >> yea. they've been practicing and i am
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told that he personally worked on it himself and he has good thoughts that he'll be delivering later tonight and we'll continue to watch these pictures and these are live pictures and actually, those are taped pictures from just a moment ago and we'll bring back senator portland and governor pawlenty. >> you know him well and you spent time behind the scenes with him, and i spent time behind the scenes with him. he's very funny, charming, likable and has a great personality and we were just sitting around and we were talking that doesn't always comes through when he's before a big crowd or on television. how do you explain that? >> he has a great opportunity tonight because he just needs to be who he is and you just summarized it well. he is a charming guy and he is a family man and i love to see him with his grandkids crawling around his lap and i've seen that on the bus. his biggest challenge is to counter the tv ads that have been run in the swing states. >> like ohio.
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>> we've been bombarded with negative campaign ads in ohio and the obama campaign has spent a lot more in ohio than the romney campaign. and he's about to change and he's got a lot of money that he couldn't use before that now he can use. >> folks don't have the image, and instead he's got another image and maybe the ads are inaccurate and a lot of them are misleading and he has the opportunity to be himself. it's an important speech, i agree with that, because he is a great guy and that will come across. he's a person who is in it for the right reasons. >> we'll do a little game, but this will be fun. you'll be playing barack obama in the debate preparation. >> no, you're going to be barack obama because you're going to play him. you did it for john mccain four years ago and you helped him and now he's got three big debates coming up in october as all of us know. as important as this convention is those three debates might be
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more important with the switchable voters. so you will play barack obama, all right? you will play mitt romney because you understand mitt romney, governor. you know him well. i'll play debate moderator wolf blitzer. governor romney, what's your biggest problem right now with the obama administration? >> you know, wolf, i have breaking news for you, backstage president obama admitted to me that he's been incompetent as the president and i want to thank the president for his admission. >> mr. president, did you admit that to governor romney? >> well, listen, i think these debates will be extremely important, as you say. i don't expect president obama to admit much. in fact, i doubt he'd take advice from me wolf, although i'll play him, and if he admitted more about the mistakes that he'd made. >> you try to get things under head and not just figure out what they're going to say, and
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they try to be tougher so half way of the debate it's not bad. that's your objective. we had a similar -- and both of them this time, governor, you have a sense of i wish i was up on that stage, and i didn't think you were seriousry considered and not getting something you didn't expect and ron portman, first and foremost among them and others and he made a great pick and paul ryan will do a great job as nominee for v.p. and v.p. >> any hard feelings, mr. president? >> no. i'm a big fan of paul's. we're good friends and we were in the ways and means committee in the house together. i think he's terrific and you saw in his speech why he's going to be so good.
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he's about being looking forward. he's about reforms that will actually help people get back to where we want. >> i always knew he was a smart guy, a policy wonk and good legislator. i didn't know until last night that he had good o ratterical skills and i appreciate why mitt romney selected him as a running mate. >> tim would have been great and i am now suggesting that tim help run our country as a cabinet member. >> i'm not pitching for that at all, but thank you. >> i think he can do whatever he wants, too. he's done a terrific job in minnesota, he has to get himself elected. >> thanks for coming in. >> lead gunning to both of you. do paul ryan's congressional votes in the past square with his speech? we'll break that down with the man who knows him very well.
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the house majority leader eric cantor is here and getting ready to join us live. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] at&t. the nation's largest 4g network. covering 2,000 more 4g cities and towns than verizon. at&t. rethink possible.
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lisa sylvester is monitoring other top stories in "the situation room" right now. lisa more disturbing news about iran's nuclear potential. what's going on? >> that's right, wolf. iran is putting its nuclear program into overdrive, doubling production of high-grade enriched uranium at an
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underground site. iran has changed the landscape around a key military site that western diplomats believe is used for nuclear testing. the u.n. is demanding an immediate response from iran on its findings. during his fiery speech at an iranian summit egypt's new president mohammed morsi insisted there is a moral obligation to help opposition forces in syria. the newly elected leader says it's time for assad's regime to leave. the syrian delegation walked out in protest. the free syrian army claims it shot down a military jet in idlib province. amateur video showed the pilot ejecting from that smoking aircraft. before holmes went on a shooting rampage in a colorado movie theater, a professor recommended that holmes want be admitted to its graduate program, quote, under any circumstances. another professor agreed and holmes was turned down from the school in 2011.
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he is scheduled in court today for a hearing on his contact with a psychiatrist. 12 people were killed and 78 wounded in last month's shooting and it was not just another day at the office for a cop in india. take a look here. police say this police officer was caught drinking heavily while on duty. my, oh, my, made a huge scene at the bus station on the country's northern punjab state. i'm going to guess, wolf, that his job might be in jeopardy right now, wolf. >> good guess, lisa, you have very, very much. paul ryan certainly had the crowd on its feet in tampa and we're taking a closer look at what he had to say. did he tell the whole story? we'll talk about that and more with the house majority leader eric kacantor and he's here and getting ready to join me and he knows paul ryan very, very well.
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we're live here in tampa as republicans prepare for the biggest night of their presidential convention. mitt romney will take the stage to formally accept his party's nomination. his number two paul ryan recently rallied the crowd here last night. joining us now his close friend and colleague the house majority leader eric cantor. thank you very much for coming in. >> pleasure. >> like everybody else, you were surprised romney was picked. >> that paul was picked. i think paul was surprised. we were so thrilled, though, to see one of our own and my good friend and colleague paul ryan be on the national ticket. you know, paul's been very much in the driver's seat as far as our budget's concerned and sort of the blueprint, if you will, for trying to get the fiscal health of the country back in line and so it's really the realization of what so many of us wanted to see happen which is to try and put some of these very big issues on the table for the debate that we're going to
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have over the next several months leading up to the election. >> all right. let's talk about those fiscal issues and budget issues and deficit issues and he spoke about it last night and he went after the president increasing the national debt by $5 trillion or $6 trillion over the past four years. what he did say was the national debt doubled during the eight years of the bush administration from $5 trillion to more than $10 trillion. he didn't mention that. so there's plenty of room here to go around. >> listen, i think paul also was very, honest and straightforward about the fact that there's plenty of blame. you know, the housing crisis he mentioned and there was plenty of blame to go around there as well, both sides, but his point is that it's time to stop the blame game and try to get on with solutions. >> you and he voted for some of the biggest big-ticket items that exploded that national debt over these recent years including you didn't pay for the
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wars in iraq and afghanistan, and more than $1 trillion, prescription drugs and benefits for seniors and it was very important and it wasn't paid for huge tax cuts and including the wealthy and very important and not paid for. a lot of the big spending items whether defense, discretionary, whatever you guys voted for it, too. >> in paul's remarks, he did say, you know, look, we weren't always perfect and we weren't always right and i know that paul and i and the majority whip in the house and we got back after we were tossed out of the majority and said, you know what? we sort of deserve that because we weren't living up to our fiscal principles that we had been elected to promote and that's when we began an effort to try and re-bring or bring back our party to the point of being fiscal conservatives and to try to get the governmen right sized and to finally get this country back on track, and i don't think there's any
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question that paul was about trying to make sure, look, plenty of blame, but let's get solutions now. >> what do you say to the vice president, the vice president and the democrats when they say, hey, if you like the way the bush administration ended. when the country was on the verge of a depression, 800,000 jobs being lost at the end of the final months of the bush administration every single month. if you like where the country was then on that cliff near a depression, go ahead and vote for the republicans because they want those same policies that they did then that resulted in that economic disaster. >> first of all, i think that it's been four years and it's time for the president and his party to stop blaming president obama. we have a very unique situation that we are confronted with now. we know the alarm bells have been run by the entitlement trustees saying these safety net programs are going go broke and the seniors that enjoy the benefits of these programs will not have the programs themselves
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if we don't do something to act. we've seen the rating agencies downgrade the united states' debt. these are first time, the latter is certainly the first time that that's happened. >> the republicans were part of that problem, as well and the credit rating for the united states and a lot of the republicans didn't want to increase the debt ceiling which helped lower that. >> i don't think that's the primary motivation of the downgrade. the primary motivation of the downgrade is for washington to rein in the spending and to balance the books and that's where the downgrade came in and we've been the ones to try to put forward the solution on the table and paul's speech last night in that speech, he said, look, the president spared the lead. he's not offered up a solution. we've been asking him as well as harry reid to sit down and try to solve the problem and unfortunately that's not the case. >> the president of the united
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states rejected the bowles-simpson debt reconsideration, debt limit proposals and the president did reject the bowles-simpson even though he put them all in place, but paul ryan was a member of that commission himself. he voted against it. he didn't point that out last night. the point that paul was trying to make was the president actually constituted a commission and seemingly ignored the recommendations completely. paul wasn't saying he could approve of it or disapprove of it. he didn't do anything. he did not do anything and that's the whole point. >> he did try to work out a deal with john boehner, the speaker and they were fairly close, but in the end it collapsed. >> but the point that paul was trying to make is the president did nothing with the bowles-simpson recommendations. >> why did he vote against it? >> paul ryan, because he had a chance. other republicans went along and alan simpson, former republican senator from wyoming. why did paul ryan reject
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bowles-simpson. >> for the same reason that i'm not in favor of bowles-simpson and we ought to take the good things without the bad and there are two fundamental reasons why i rejected and why paul rejected bowles-simpson. it goes back to check growth. economic growth has a big impact on the deficit in this country. we need to get growth going again and taxes have a big part to play in that economic growth and ernst & young study pointed out that the president's call for tax increases will cost 700,000 jobs, okay? it will decrease the ability for us to grow. so the baseline and the assumptions in the bowles-simpson commission called for a nearly $2 trillion tax increase over the next ten years. that is not something that will lend itself to economic growth. the second piece, wolf, is the fact that the structure of the entitlement programs and healthcare was left in place and we know that that has been ineffective at lowering costs to allow more people access to
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coverage. >> your good friend is the vice presidential nominee and mitt romney is about to do the biggest speech of his political career. you'll be here? >> yes. >> thanks very much for coming in. >> eric cantor of virginia. that's a key battleground state. >> do you think you've got it? >> we're going to win. >> northern virginia could be a problem. >> we'll win. >> it's one of the areas hardest hit by isaac's wrath. plaquemines parish, where hundreds had to be rescued from their homes. stay with us. [ pilot ] now when you build an aircraft,
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s a ak has just been downgraded to a tropical
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depression, but it's still battering the gulf coast. look at this. just look at how slowly the storm is moving. it's gone 250 miles since it made landfall and you can see the storm is massive in size dumping rain from texas all of the way to the carolinas. our brian todd is in plaquemines parish in louisiana and joining us in an area inundated by rain. brian, you had a firsthand look at the devastation with the parish president billy nungesser earlier today. what did you see? >> reporter: we saw just devastation pretty much everywhere we looked, wolf. this the day for assessment and places like this where there are sea walls set up and trying to shore them up. this one has a gate in it and this gate was opened a short time ago, but you're right. earlier today we went on that side of the mississippi river to an area where that levee was overtopped during hurricane isaac. when it was a hurricane yesterday. we saw just endless, endless devastation in these villages. billy nungesser, the parish
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president told us some 60 square miles or more are under water. they don't know when the residents will be able to get back. they're still looking for stranded residents and it's not just people who were stranded. some of the images we saw out there today, you wouldn't believe. wild life struggling to hold on to anything that isn't under water. we saw cows struggling to keep their heads above water. two cows on the porch of a house just kind of waiting this thing out and that was something we saw and then we caught up to victims of the flood that did not decide to leave even though this place was under a mandatory evacuation. i spoke to one, shirley johnson and asked her why she decided to stay. >> because we have nowhere to go and no way of getting out so we stayed together as a family. we don't separate. we get all together every time. >> many like her and others we came across when we would boat up to these villages and people are hanging out at their houses waiting for the waters to recede
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and a lot of them said they didn't leave because they knew it would take a long time to get back to their homes. they know this area is very low lying and it gets a lot of flooding even in normal raiall even without a levee breach they figured this could have been flooded. they thought it would take a long time to get back to their houses and that's why they stayed and a lot of them came close to paying the ultimate price. >> and from billy nungesser on down to plaquemines parish, how would you assess the mood of the folks right now? >> reporter: you know, many of them are just breathing a sigh of relief that they weathered this. some are still, you know, again, stranded at their home, but not in a desperate way. they have enough supplies and their homes are high enough above the water so they're okay. they figure they can ride it out, but billy nungesser as he goes around he's still trying to find victims and trying to find people who are stranded and need some kind of help. he was just exhausted and we'll
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have a clip of that where he stretches his back and says this is unbelievable. i just can't believe this happened again. he's ridden out katrina, the oil spill, now this. >> brian todd on the scene for us as he always is. thank you. and to find out how you can help the many people devastated by isaac, visit our "impact your world" page at cnn.com/impact. you'll be doing a good, good deed. jack cafferty is asking how well do you feel you know mitt romney? your e-mail in "the cafferty file" coming up next and my interview with republican vice presidential nominee paul ryan.
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here's a look at this hour's "hotshots." a young boy jumps into a pool of water. take a look at this. in dennia, a camel is prepared to take passengers on a guided tour. in india, schoolchildren wave the national flag and in colorado, a cnn ireporter shares this photo of two horses chasing a black bear. hotshots. pictures coming in from around the world. >> jack cafferty is back and he's got the cafferty file.
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>> those are two dumb horses chasing the bear and if the bear turns around and decides not to run it's over for those horses. how well do you feel mitt romney? >> a voter writes how well do we know barack obama? anybody who knows him knows he studied harder and wasted less time than anyone else. it's incredibly hard to do what he's done. the fact he got there says volumes about how smart he is and how he would be as president. >> i see a boring tax evader who would raise my taxes while giving himself and his rich friends more tax cuts. i don't give two hoots about his personal, religious or family life. strapped his dog on top of the car, big deal. was a jerk in college? who wasn't? what i do want to know is what he was like as a businessman because that's the experience that he's selling to us. so far i'm not impressed with his ethics. jim writes not as well as i know
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barack obama and i'm not interested in going down that road again. i'll take a chance on what i know about romney. milton in the netherlands, not at all. a man who plays by his ownest is rules and his refusal to release his tax returns makes it difficult for many people in his own party to know him. j.d. in new hashire says the onng ly thidon't about mitt rney is howeslee at night. bob in ohio says one can never know enough about any politician to trust them. if you want to read more on this subject, go to the blog, cnn.com/caffertyfile or to our post on the situation room's facebook page. wolf? all right, jack, thank you. we're counting down to mitt romney taking the center stage tonight for the biggest speech for the republican national convention. also paul ryan energized the crowd last night and he's going to join us live. that's coming up right here in "the situation room" in the next hour. fit briefs for charity to prove how great the fit is even while playing pro football. the best protection now looks, fits and feels
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-- captions by vitacw--let? www.vitac.com you're in "the situation room" happening now. i'm here at the republican national convention in tampa for mitt romney's political career. the stage has been set and now he must convince americans that he is the person they should put in the white house. i'll talk this hour with his running mate paul ryan. he'll join me live here in tampa. and isaac grinds his way inland even as he keeps drenching the gulf coast. the biggest problem now flooding. authorities race to keep a dam from failing as thousands are ordered to evacuate. while some are still being rescued from rising waters we'll show you the story of a man who struggled to get back to a flooded home to rescue his animals. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around
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the world. i'm wolf blitzer in tampa. you're in "the situation room." ♪ ♪ >> we're here at the republican national convention in tampa where tonight it's all about mitt romney. the convention has been energized by republican stars like the new jersey governor chris christie and romney's running mate paul ryan. ryan will join me live this hour here in "the situation room," we'll hear more from some of the other stars tonight including the former house speaker newt gingrich, the former florida governor jeb bush and senator marco rubio of florida. plus the wraps have been taken off a mystery guest as they're calling him, hollywood star clint eastwood will be here, but it's mitt romney who will still have to shine brightest on this night. it's the biggest speech of his life. he'll need to show millions of voters around the united states just who he is and why he should
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be the one to leave the united states over the next four years. certainly will be an exciting, historic night here in tampa. so we're watching all of that and i'm getting ready for my interview this hour with paul ryan as well. another important story we're following and i want to update you on what's going on along much of the gulf coast. it just keeps raining and raining and raining. isaac finally losing some steam. it's now a tropical depression as it moves inland, but it's leaving behind very dangerous flooding with thousands forced to leave their homes. close to a million people along the gulf coast are now without power. authorities are also working urgently to relief pressure a weakened dam. listen to the louisiana governor bobby jindal. >> there are concerns percy quinn about a dam over in mississippi that if this dam were to break, it would take about 90 minutes for that water to get to kentwood. we've been in contact with our
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mississippi counterparts including the department of transportation over there and they're planning a planned breach to avoid to prevent the dam from breaking. this morning they were concerned that breaking was imminent. >> bobby jindal speaking a little while ago. let's go to our severe weather expert chad myers who has been working very, very hard for all of us. what's the latest on that dam, first of all, chad? >> the water has been up to the top of the dam and it's been going all day and i've seen pictures from the army corps that's been taken and from the dry side of the dam is so wet from all of the rain and it's beginning to slide away. so the plan is to take part of this dam and cutta i piece of the dam away and allow the water to spill over and make a low water spill. here's new orleans and lake pontchartrain and we have to fly you up to mississippi. this is the mississippi dam. the quinn lake right here and
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there's the dam itself right through here, normally just a normal waterfall and just a tranquil and all of the way down to the river and not tranquil when you put down ten inches of rain to the north of that lake and now all of that water has to go somewhere and eventually gets into the gulf of mexico and has to go through all over the towns here and here's kentwood. most of kentwood being evacuated right now even though the water is being let out slowly, there is a lot of water in the system already. it's already flooding here. you put more water in it because of the dam and it's going to go up. all of kentwood being evacuated hand torly right here. this is where it will go through, robert. people here mandatory evacuations around robert as well and eventually it snakes all of the way into lake pontchartrain and that will take some time. it takes 90 minutes to go from the lake to kentwood and at least a couple of three hours or more than that to get over to lake pontchartrain.
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when it gets to pontchartrain, it will not go up at all because of this. you won't each recognize that that water is in there, but the people along that river are in some danger right now, wolf. >> in terms of inland, how far is it going? what's the latest as far as the forecast is concerned? >> this thing is still going go all of the way up into kentucky, tennessee and ohio. it's raining now into louisiana, mississippi, alabama and even into georgia and now the rain is spreading out. so i know there will still be a lot of flooding because there's so much water on the ground. saltwater and fresh water. the rain is slowing down now a little bit and so the rain that spreads out may actually be drght relief for some people as long as it doesn't sit there. finally this storm is moving north at about 12 miles per hour for many hours the past couple of nights that movement was 2 or 3 miles per hour and 12 is a good number. >> yea. good point, chad, thanks very much. certainly those who make their living on the water were the first to get hit by isaac and
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now there are new developments unfolding as well. i want to go to cnn's ed lavandera and he's watching all of this for us and that is on grand isle in louisiana. what are you seeing where you are? >> wolf, almost 36 hours and about 36 hours of being trapped here and surrounded by floodwaters we were able to venture out and get our first sights around this island. it held up rather well considering the eye of the storm came through here and for some people riding out this storm here on this island was kind of like riding a roller coaster, a wild roller coaster without the harness. dean blanchard lived through hurricanes katrina, rita and gustav inside his immovable home in grand isle, louisiana. he didn't think hurricane isaac could compare. he was wrong. >> all, but some 30 of grand isle's residents evacuated the island, but perhaps no one
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experienced this storm quite like this group. shrimpers who tied their boats down and held on tight for almost 40 hours. one of those shrimpers was name pham. >> what was it like? >> what was it like? that experience, i would never do this again. >> why did you do it in the first place? >> i had no choice. i was stuck here. >> fam lives in texas and she couldn't get her boat out of the storm in time and didn't want to leave the ship behind. >> you didn't believe the tv when they said 80 mile an hour winds. >> and most of the houses on the island came out of the storm mostly unscathed, but blanchard's shrimp docks took a beating. >> this was all wood. you could walk all over, all that over there and on the other side, by the blue boat and all of that. >> all of this where the water is. huge deck? all of that's gone. holy -- >> and there's nothing you can do to stop that. >> this is the main highway that brings you into grand isle.
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the storm surge through here was so powerful that in a few places it caused the roadways to buckle and wash archway and because of this officials say residents won't be allowed back for several more days. >> giant mounds of marsh grass covers large stretches into the island. for the few who made it for hurricane isaac they won't forget the storm and she said she'll never do it again and she'll be shocked to hear this part. >> i guess it's not. >> you were able to watch tv from in there? >> oh, yea, the whole time. >> reporter: wolf, i was simply shocked that the whole time she was in there we could see those folks from where we're standing right over here. we could see the lights on their shrimp boats and were extremely worried for them throughoutest mo of the storm especially tuesday night into wednesday morning when the storm was at its downright brutal worst and happy to see that they made it through safely. wolf?
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>> happy to see, indeed. ed lavandera, thanks very much. here in tampa, the stage is set for mitt romney, the vice presidential nominee, paul ryan. he certainly did his job last night and winning praise for well-delivered affection and convention speech especially praise coming from so many republicans and ryan is coming in for some criticism at the same time. he fired up the crowd, but did he play loose with some of the facts? cnn's tom foreman has been looking into that for us. tom, what are you seeing? >> well, wolf, you know the democrats were absolutely laying out there for paul ryan waiting to hear anything he said. many republicans believe president obama's proi orits in terms of the economy are just all wrong. that he's always looking for government solutions first instead of encouraging private sector initiatives and paul ryan rolled out a perfect little story along those lines about a gm plant in his hometown that barack obama visited when he was a candidate and the recession was roaring.
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>> right there at that plant, candidate obama said i believe that if our government is there to support you this plant will be here for another hundred years. that's what he said in 2008. well, as it turned out that plant didn't last another year. it is locked up and empty to this day. >> so, let's break this down. did candidate obama really say that? yes, he did and more. he said he knew general motors and the folks at that plant were in a financial squeeze. listen. >> but i also know how much progress you've made, how many hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles you're churning out and i believe if our government is there to support you and give you the assistance you need to retool and make this transition that this plant will be here for another hundred years. >> so there you go. that was february 2008. you could argue that such was
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laying the groundwork for the auto bailouts that were to come, bailouts that many republicans still think was a mistake and also credited for saving thousands of jobs and now let's look at the timeline of the plant in ryan's hometown. did it close? yes. the biggest part of the operation shut down costing 2,000 jobs by december of 2008 each before mr. obama took office and he certainly didn't have the power at that point. one part of the plant was still operating when president obama took office in january 2009, but it only had a few dozen jobs there and it, too, was closed by april. if you listen he was talking about government help for retraining and retooling and developing new technologies and things that take a good bit of time couldn't have happened in just a few months and all of this is complicated further by the fact that congressman ryan made a similar, stronger statement just a couple of weeks
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ago in which he suggested that president obama promised he would keep the camp open. since then, ryan has tweaked his wording so that if you consider only specifically what he said last night, that statement was true, but it gets a great, big, capital i for incomplete and it leaves out some critical, critical details that tell an awful lot more of the story. >> excellent fact check for us and we're getting a ton of reaction on that specific gm plant and you did a good job explaining it to our viewers. thank u very much, tom foreman. the nominee's crucial moment. paul ryan did set the stage with a powerful speech last night, but can mitt romney deliver the winning speech of his own? paul ryan, the republican vice presidential nominee will join me live shortly right heren "the situation room." we'll talk about that and a whole lot more.
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and is president obama planning a major strategy change? i'll ask "time" magazine correspondent michael sheerer. he spent some time and interviewed president obama. that's coming up next. dad's tablet... or lauren's smartphone... at&t has a plan built to help make families' lives easier. introducing at&t mobile share. one plan lets you share data on up to 10 devices with unlimited talk and text. add a tablet for only $10 per month. the more data you share, the more you save. at&t.
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> . just a reminder. my interview with the republican vice presidential nominee in tampa paul ryan coming up later this hour. i'll speak with him live. he's coming over here to see us here in "the situation room." while republicans seize their moment, president obama is out of the spotlight at least today, but we are hearing from him anyway in the latest issue of "time" magazine, our sister publication and joining us now michael sheerer, the white house correspondent for "time," he jumped out and what to explain and this is from the cover story and there will be some popping of the blister after this election, the president says,
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because it would have been such a stark choice where republicans refuse to cooperate on things that i know are good for the american people. i will continue to look for ways to do it administratively and work around congress. popping the blister, working around congress. what did he mean by all of that? >> we need to break the fever in washington. that's how he means pop the blister. he basically saying this election is a continuation of the deadlock we had in august of 2011 with the debt ceiling compromise breakdown and he's trying to take that breakdown and the ability of washington to get things done to the people and he's hoping that the message coming out for republicans will be they have to back down and in practice what that's going to mean is he wants to create a division within the republican party to peel off the moderates as they tend to refer to as the tea party, conservative base so there are a number of people who do talk revenues and who do engage with him on immigration reform which is something he definitely wants to do in 2013
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and to get that done he has to elevate these issues and this election and he comes out of it with a mandate. >> and the tax increase and let's get more revenue into the irs and the government. >> i read the transcript. you can hear him and get the voice and all of that, but from what i could tell he sounded pretty frustrated. did he? >> i really focused in the interview on the frustrations he's had over the last few years and the inability to do the things he's wanted to do and he's been very successful with policy and in dealing with washington and interacting with republicans and he hasn't been very successful and there is a lot of frustration there and it came out not just in hissed abouty language, but at some points in the interview he said this isn't just a popularity contest or a choice about who is nicer and who's minute. it's really about where the facts are and the facts are on my side and the packs in this election, and i'm paraphrasing him here, is if the facts will
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win the day at a time when they're upset with the state of the economy. he sees it that way, that his efforts have been blocked by the passions and furies that have been drummed up by republicans over the last three years. >> here's another line that jumped out from your interview with the president. one impediment to that is what we've seen in this campaign with money and mol ticks and citizens unit united. we want a situation in which undisclosed donors writing $10 million checks and have such a disproportionate influence over the course of this country? and if not what can we do to change it? >> i asked him of bringing the grassroots momentum to washington and he said yes. he point to that issue. yesterday he did an internet interview and he said he'd like to look at doing a constitutional amendment to undo the citizens united decision and i think he sees this issue as a way of galvanizing grassroots
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support and reclaiming that brand that he had in 2007 and 2008 of being a governor reformer and the subtext of this is the democrats are concerned going forward that if they don't have billionaires in their corner that they'll have a lot harder time and obama will be fine and it will come with a huge base of support and in 2016 and 2020, you will need very wealthy people if you'll play in the system. >> it's the cover story. the new issue of "time" what obama knows now and i recommend it highly. are you headed to charlotte? >> of course. i wouldn't miss it. >> i'll be there as well and as we leave here we'll head to charlotte. after his speech, paul ryan is gearing up to watch his unr running mate take the stage and first i'll have the live interview with the republican vice presidential nominee and that's coming up in a few moments and a man desperate to rescue his animals in new orleans. braving alligator-infested floodwaters to try to reach them and we'll have his story and more, a lot more coming up in
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hurricane isaac certainly packed a wallop in louisiana's plaquemines parish. with so many stranded by the deep flooding and anxiously awaiting rescue, neighbors are trying to help other friends and neighbors. reporter paul boyd of "inside edition" traveled with a man from plaquemines and found his neighbor desperate for a boat to go back to his house and save his beloved animals. >> which is close to my home which we're trying to get to. >> this is the start of the community and you can see that it really is inundated with water and a lot of flooding going and take a look over here, you see one of the reasons why
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the power went down. so you know, it's a pretty rough situation out here and we'll keep going to dean's house and it looks like we'll have to head into the floodwater to get there. >> take a look out the window on the side. >> what are you thinking as you drive out to the water here? >> this is robert's house and this is where his animals are trapped. where do you want to put the boat? >> there is a side gate around the back door. >> what are you thinking as you pull up here to your house and see it under water like this. >> we'll have to start over again. that's how it happens.
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and you choose to live down here it's like gambling. you have to be prepared to lose. >> i'll give you an idea of how high the water came. this is the water line right here. all right. this is first thing in the morning so it's come down pretty quickly here in the last couple of hours since the peak of the storm rolled through last night. that's your water line. look around here. absolutely devastating. >> the floodwaters were too much for the house, robert sanders and his friend were able to get the an will mals to higher ground. >> all right, we're getting ready to interview the republican vice presidential nominee, paul ryan. he's coming here. we'll speak with him this hour, and maybe in the next block. we're waiting for him to walk over. my interview with paul ryan is coming up right here in "the situation room." ♪ ♪ >> when we started designing the
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so far. last night his running mate paul ryan of wisconsin, stole the show with a powerful speech and paul ryan is joining us in the situation room. congratulations to you. >> thank you, wolf. >> how excited, how pumped are you for all of this? >> very. >> it's been moving very quickly in your life. >> that's true, but i've been working on this issues for a long time. >> the issues, but the fact is that you were the vice presidential nominee. a few weeks ago you didn't know it was in the cards. >> i always had the thought in the back of my mind and then it got real, so to speak. i'm excited because mitt romney will finish telling the story that we started telling last night. he'll introduce himself to the american people so they can get to know the kind of man and leader that he is, that we know. he'll offer solutions to get people back to work. >> is he going to go through specifics? >> he's going to go into his plan for a stronger middle class and he will go into detail about the ideas to get people back to work and he'll talk about how
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they need leadership to make key decisions now before they make a debt crisis on our horizon before we lose a grip on the american idea and before we find ourselves in an area like what we're facing and so that they can get to know him like we do. >> the debt problem, the trillions and trillions of dollars didn't just start with the obama administration. >> absolutely not. plenty of blame to go around. the bush administration is doubled. i've been saying that for years. all i would say is president obama made it worse. the debt went up $5.5 trillion and more to the point and this crisis is coming closer. it's already hitting europe and president obama has had four budgets and four times he avoided tackling the problem. the senate hasn't passed a budget for three years and mitt romney will pass the kind of leadership under control. >> a couple of things from your
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speech last night,ers k erech k bowles, you criticized the president for saying he rejected the recommendations and you rejected the recommendations. that's what i did. we took the best ideas from bowles-simpson and added other ideas and passed it. president obama did none of that. president obama said i don't like this plan and offered nothing in return. >> he did come up close with a deal for john boehner. that wasn't even close to picking the problem. it was a small or medium-sized deal, and cutting a back room deal that gives you liability is not leadership. offering a plan, submitting a budget to congress that fixes a problem is leadership and we haven't seen it from president obama. >> you are getting that. do you want to revise what
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you've said? just to remind our viewers, you said that the president came there and he did come there in february 2008 and he said if the government takes action you will have a plan here for a hundred years. they announced that plant was shutting down in june 2008. >> it's still idle. the point is this is a story of the obama economy. a man running for president in 2008 making all these grand promises and then none of them occurring. he got leched. he put his policies in place and the plant is still shut down. my friends who i went to high school with -- >> that was a decision general motors made. >> he came and made these promises and sells people on the notion that he'll do the great achievements and then none of them occur. these are empty promises that become broken promises and that's the ory of the obama economy and he said he'd cut the deficit in half and they'd never
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go above 8% and it's been 8% ever since. so what we have here is a man who ran for president with grandiose plans and promises and none of the results. >> you were with him when he saved the auto industry. you supported that legislation. i voted for the bill and the house which would have prevented tarp from being used for auto. this is under the bush administration. i didn't like the idea of t.a.r.p. being used and i voted for a bill that would prevent t.a.r.p. from being used and we are now 25 billion and counting and i voted for a bill which would far more minimize that and president obama and president obama used tarp for it. >> how are you preparing for your debate with joe biden? >> by preparing. >> what are you doing? >> i'm studying and reading joe biden speeches and watchingoe biden tape. he's been good. >> he'sretty good and i've been in congress 14 years. and the senate don't debate as often and frequently. that's all we do in the house.
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i love debating and that's one of the things i like about this job. >> congratulations. >> thanks, wolf. appreciate it. >> we'll spend time together. >> see you around on the trail. >> definitely will. >> thank you. >> thanks. >> mitt romney only hours away from the biggest speech of his political life. that's coming up here in tampa. up next, we'll get some unsolicited advice on this, the final night of the republican convention. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." ♪
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several prominent members of mitt romney's mormon church will help introduce him to the convention later tonight and there were key references to religion in last night's speeches. let's listen to this snapshot. ♪ ♪ >> i care far less as to where mitt romney takes his family to church than i do about where he takes this country. the man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. >> this issue of being a mormon has been an issue that's been out there for a long time. >> some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. if they're right, so be it. >> we're expecting that governor romney will touch on this topec tonight. his aides say this is not a faith speech, but certainly this is an important part of his life. >> let's go down to cnn contributor, the sirius xm radio
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host pete dominic. he's here at the cnn grill right here in tampa. he's getting some unsolicited vaets from our panel. pete, take it away. >> thank you very much, wolf blitzer. here with the panel, here to talk about how important the mormon religion and actor tim daly is joining us. >> thank you for having me here. >> let's start with you, man. how important do you think mitt romney's religion is to voters and how important is it to you? >> i think religion is important to voters that it seems like voters want their presidential candidates to have some sort of faith, but it's not like it's an episode of "big love." ien moo, he only has one life and i don't think it really bothers anyone. it doesn't seem to be that much of an issue. >> if you dig into polls, though, there are obviously reasons that romney hasn't talked that much about his faith to date in the campaign. if you look at polls where people say, you know, would you
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vote for this person for president, that person for president there's always been a slightly higher level of people saying they wouldn't vote for a mormon for president. this dates back decades and it holds true not only for evangelical voters and conservative voters and also among independents and liberals as well. i think for romney, i think this is ultimately a smart move. he's been a little bit ham strung in selling himself by not talking about his faith and the side of his life that complicates his image of him as a heartless, soulless businessman and he closed himself off to what would otherwise be a natural part of his campaign narrative. >> when his religion ever been a playbook for a president in the past? can we look at a past president where this has really mattered in i just think governor romney in massachusetts, he did a lot of things that were certainly not in line with the mormon church. >> i don't get it. i have not -- there is not a
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single person i know in my life being a mormon. the last thing i've heard is the religious stuff and i can tell you as a person of faith because he says heel get 12 million jobs in the next four years. that's a miracle. in other words, george bush got 4 million in eight years and george bush's record every year, and he is definitely a person of faith. he believes in miracles. if we come back here four years from now and there have been 12 million jobs you're converting to mormonism. >> i am converting to a mormon. >> the people truly were concerned that the president would be dialing up the pope for advice. obviously, that was put to rest and i don't think that's people's concern. personally, i care that someone is a person of faith. i don't care what faith it is. you're a muslim, if you're a jew, or a mormon. i do care that you're a person of faith? >> why? >> because i'm not a person of faith so that offends me.
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what does that make me? am i not a good guy? what does that do to me? >> all i would tell you is i think people of faith who have a deep and abiding belief in god, whatever they think of that god, are recognize humility, recognize compassion, recognize that humans are imperfect and recognize that -- >> go ahead. >> hit me! >> you guys know me. >> i think voters who are worried about one way to think about it is this, the president of the united states, the most powerful office in the country probably the most powerful office in the world and i think it probably makes voters feel a little more comfortable with the idea that the person in that office thinks there's somebody in the universe more powerful than him. >> why does being a member of a major religion and arbiter of that? >> all i said was -- all i said was -- the religion on there. >> rush limbaugh is a person of
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faith. i don't think he thinks anybody is more powerful than him and i don't think he's a compassionate person. >> that's an easy caricature. >> but to your point, i think that right now religion has become a sort of stand-in for values for -- for having some sense that you are not the smartest person in the world and that you're -- that there's a standard beyond yourself and to that extent i think it is important. >> the elephant in the room is the church of latter-day saints. mormonism. this isn't like any other presidential candidate has been, buddhist, of course, and there's history and question and people don't understand. is that different, though? it is different. mormonism is, in a sense and it's founded right here in the united states. the american continent -- >> it's very strange. >> it makes it very strange.
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the idea that jesus of nazareth will return. >> is a yankees fan. >> and is a strange idea and there's also the sense of a mormon church as a little more secretive, maybe, than the norm. you can't enter the major mormon temples and so on. i think that perception goes a long way towards explaining it's not sort of specific. it's just a general unease. >> one of the ways to dismiss that mystery, which i think people are starting to do and which romney will do himself tonight is to talk as a human being. i can remember when i started as a secretary in the small nine-person firm, every single one of the people in that firm were mormon. what i found out is that each and every one of those businessmen was a person of fine character, a great family man and more importantly than that, two of those men said to me we think you can do more than be a secretary. why don't you learn something about business and they changed my life for the better. >> right. if we're talking anecdotes every
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single mormon i've met is the friendliest person in the world and very warm. is mitt romney very warm? can he be what we are anecdotally saying? >> if he can be it's probably in talking about his faith, but that remains to be seen. >> we're in the situation now where you have the president of the united states who is allegedly a muslim and so we're obsessed with his faith. >> half of the republicans say this he's a muslim. >> not true. >> we'll google it. >> we'll look at how many republicans think the president is a muslim and see if we respect the fact checkers because there's been a lot of fact checkers. right now we have to throw it back to wolf blitzer. thank you, great conversation. back to wolf blitzer right now. >> all right, guys. thanks very, very much. small business owners here in tampa thought they hit the
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jackpot when the republican convention came to town and some of them are getting a lot less than they bargained for and that's coming up in the next hour and we're counting down to mitt romney's big night with only five hours to go. more unsolicited advice. that's coming up from our panel as well. what makes the sleep number store different? you walk into a conventional mattress store, it's really not about you. they say, "well, if you wanted a firm bed you can lie on one of those. we provide the exact individualization that your body needs. oh, yeah! wow. once you experience it, there's no going back. at our biggest sale of the year, every bed is on sale.
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back here at the cnn grill in tampa at the republican national convention. my favorite part of the conversation, unsolicited advice. nobody asked us, but we all get to pick a target. >> no surprise, paul ryan. here is my advice. don't give speeches where as soon as you're done, lying ryan becomes a twitter storm. i am serious. this guy has potential to be one of the most important leaders in the country. disagree with him on everything, but his integrity has to be there. if you get up and give a speech, do what you can do as a communicator, don't lie. just keep it honest, you're going to be great. once he gets tagged as somebody reporters can't trust, he is done. don't let lying ryan become your brand. >> know what rhymes with your last name. >> my advice to our good friend
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mayor from l.a. that recently said the gop outreach to minorities was insincere and you can't just throw a brown face or two up on the screen. mayor, i would suggest that you listen to mayor mia love and susan a martinez and to former secretary of state condoleezza rice. the republican party has become both more diverse and more conservative. it is a party that represents small business owners and everyday people, and may i say, i think the democratic party is looking like the protector of special interests and big bloated government bureaucracy. take a look at what the republican party actually represents and maybe provide some ideas of your own. >> my advice, not that anybody asked, for the media and politicians who win. i never liked rick santorum or anything he said, but two days ago i sat next to karen santorum who was lovely.
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got to meet rick later. the media is separated, politicians separate us to win elections. we have common humanity. republicans work hard, democrats work hard. liberals are addicts, conservatives are addicts. everybody here can love their family. doesn't matter what your political background. the way they divide us is wrestling. like wrestling versus mma. mma is real and so are we. >> i am just going to say my advice is for all my dear liberal friends. after van's advice, my advice for van jones, stop pretending this republican presidential campaign is sitting on an enormous throne of lives that throws all the rest of them in the shade. stop taking normal exaggerations and things that aren't exaggerations and blowing them into some sort of mountain. the way you -- i know i am not
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going to convince you ryan isn't a liar, but maybe i can convince you this isn't productive for the liberal cause. if you want these arguments, argue about the auto bailout, don't argue about details what date the plant in janesville shut down and how much the economic impact was of the obama presidency. >> tim daily. >> to republicans and democrats, get over the label of a politician being elite. you should demand your politicians are elite, the way you demand nfl players are elite. imagine seeing guys on the field, like i don't want an elite doctor to do my heart surgery, i want a guy to have a beer with. get over it, america. demand your politicians are the smartest, brightest, most educated people in the room. >> somewhere mitt romney is watching and applauding. >> great point. you know who i want to be elite?
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my pilot! the guy flying the plane. elite politicians, elite leaders. >> getting on the plane, you going to fly the plane because of a tv show i did, i should try. i want somebody in the airport for 20 years. >> i think they should be excellent. >> it is a difference of semantics. i agree. >> we have one more minute. van, do you want to respond? >> sure. first of all, i think this question of personal integrity is a big deal. i think people like obama because they feel he is a good guy, family guy. ryan has all those characteristics. >> are you saying obama hasn't stretched the truth a few times? please. >> wait a minute. ryan is brand new. people are trying to figure this guy out. i don't think he needs to just push it. if he would put it down the middle, i would be terrified of the guy. he makes it easy for me to go after him.
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he should stop doing it. >> one more. >> quickly. >> dnc, rnc, can sell the thing. it is a big tv show. spend the money -- >> all right. thanks, guys. back to you, wolf blitzer. >> all right, thanks very much. we now know some of what mitt romney is going to say tonight. we just received some excerpts. at the top of the hour, we'll share them with you. stand by for that. and it is not her convention, but debbie wasserman schultz is making her presence known. chair of the democratic national committee. she will weigh in on what she's seeing. that and more coming up.
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happening now. the speech of mitt romney's political life and the climax of the republican convention. we now know some of what he's actually going to say. stand by. also, the prominent role of some of mitt romney's fellow mormons, they will be playing a significant role later tonight in tampa as well. and a watery nightmare. the isaac disaster still unfolding for thousands of people. now a dam is in danger of breaking. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." every minute of every day in tampa has been building up to tonight and in about four hours, mitt romney will accept the republican presidential nomination. we've just received some advance excerpts from what he will say. our national political correspondent jim acosta is on the convention floor. what do you know there, jim.
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share with the viewers. >> wolf, the romney campaign released excerpts of his speech he will be delivering later when he accepts the gop nomination. a key quote to put on screen if we can do that now, mitt romney is going to say, quote, i wish president obama had succeeded because i want america to succeed, but his promises gave way to disappointment and division, romney will say. this isn't something we have to accept. now is the moment when we can do something, with your help, we will do something. that from mitt romney. i can also tell you from looking at the excerpts, he is not only talking about his father but his mother, saying his mother would have been proud of many of the female gop leaders that took the stage during this gop convention and this will also be an opportunity for mitt romney to layout a vision of the future, according to his campaign advisers. but this very much will be a look at mitt romney's past, almost a political equivalent of mitt romney, this is your life. just hours from the speech of a
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lifetime, mitt romney was all business. a few pictures with his campaign staff, quick walk through at the podium, and off he went. earlier in the day, more than 100 family members of romney and his wife who came in from across the country sat on the convention floor, waiting their turn for the ultimate political souvenir, photographs on stage. did you see this in him growing up? >> you know, when way 12 and he was 6, no. later as time went by, i saw him grow into a spectacular leader. >> scott romney hopes voters get a closer look at the man he's known all his life. >> what should the country know about your brother that they don't already know? >> i think they know a lot already about him and they'll know more about what a warm, caring, great person he is, what a leader he can be, and how he really has been able to fix everything he's ever done and he'll be able to do something to fix this country. >> and it is as if romney's entire life has been building up to this moment. son of a former presidential
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candidate. a successful business man that lost a senate race to ted kennedy, only to then turn around the 2002 olympic games. launch a successful run for governor and finally his own white house ambitions. in contrast to the red beat speech delivered by paul ryan. >> without change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years? >> this night will show the softer side of romney. members of his mormon church from boston and also in the lineup, olympic athletes from salt lake city games romney helped rescue. >> when mitt came in and did the things he did, put his team together to make one of the most successful olympics of modern time, that was proof for us that, you know, he was really behind us. >> the campaign's goal to show behind the rallies, attack ads and gaffes. >> i like being able to fire people providing service to me.
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>> you have to look at what he is done as a businessman, what he has done in the olympics, what he has done as governor of massachusetts, what his family is like, what he is like as a family man and you'll see the mitt romney they haven't seen yet. >> now, mitt romney will not get much sleep or rest after this convention speech tonight. he has campaign events scheduled tomorrow in florida, then he is off to virginia and ohio. wolf, i have to tell you, i talked to a senior romney adviser a little while ago and he pointed out something also that's very important, and that is as soon as mitt romney accepts the gop nomination formally tonight, they can tap into the general election funds. up until now, they've only been spending primary funds and they say they'll have a size and financial advantage over the president. wolf? >> they have a lot more cash on hand than the obama campaign, that is to be sure. we're going to see in the next two months hundreds of millions
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of dollars spent on both sides, but the romney people have a lot, lot more to spend in the final two months. next week during the democratic convention, he is going to be on the campaign trail without paul ryan? what are we hearing about that? >> well, i should mention that that event tomorrow morning here in florida will be with paul ryan. they're going to be doing more campaign events tomorrow together. but i have to tell you, wolf, they're keeping all of their plans close to the vest at this point as to what is going to go on next week. i did talk to eric, he did south of indicate there will be some campaign events going on next week. whether or not that means paul ryan going to charlotte, i do expect romney campaign staffers and surrogates to go to charlotte. i would as the president tries to change that, the romney campaign will give them a taste of their own medicine. >> jim acosta on the floor the
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entire evening. thanks very much. you don't have to look too carefully to see the next cnn's dana bash is on the generation of party leaders on convention floor. dana, are we seeing a transition display at the republican national convention in tampa. already to the next generation some are playing some pretty of republicans? >> reporter: absolutely, and you prominent roles. know, historically that is what conventions are for. remember, barack obama wasn't even in the senate yet when he gave a memorable keynote address and it launched him into national prominence. that's really what we're seeing. even more so at this particular convention. you see in the state of florida where we are now, and the guy that's going to give the speech introducing mitt romney is one of those next generation prominent republicans, marco rubio. listen to the man that will introduce mitt romney with jon stewart. >> have they said to you, hey, charisma boy, take it down a notch. >> they haven't told me. only thing they asked me to do is introduce the governor. give me 15 minutes to say
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anything i want. >> reporter: 41-year-old marco rubio insists his speech will be about mitt romney, not him. the truth is this convention is largely about him and other republican up and comers. tampa put a spotlight on the fact this is a party in transition. a black female congressional candidate. >> the american dream isn't just my story, it isn't just your story, it's our story. it's a story of human struggles, standing up and striving for more. >> reporter: the first latina governor. >> we share a core belief that this must be kept for the next generation. [ speaking foreign language ] it is success. it is success. and success is the american dream. >> reporter: perhaps more than new diverse faces, this is a gop
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going through a generational shift. check out this massive convention space show casing google and twitter and other technology and social media. people romney's age use this, but for gen-xers -- >> i hope it is not a deal breaker, mitt. my play list starts with ac/d.c. and ends with zeppelin. >> reporter: the 44-year-old wisconsin governor scott walker is a conservative icon. >> voters in wisconsin got to determine who was in charge. was it the big government special interest in washington or the hard working taxpayers of our state? the good news is the hard working taxpayers won! >> reporter: when you look at mia love or susana martinez, you
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may think one thing, you hear them talk, and you realize they're very conservative. >> they are very conservative and i think they know from their own life experience that conservative principles work better. that's why i became a full fledged conservative because i saw in the real world, you decentralize decision making, it works better. empower individuals, it works better. >> as for the up and coming republican that's going to be highlighted tonight, senator marco rubio, i am told that he is although very conservative, he is not going to give a red meat speech. a source that's familiar with his speech says he is going to talk more about what he has talked about over the years that propelled him into the senate, about what he calls exceptionalism, and what he means by that the american dream. he is a cuban american, he is going to talk about his experience and how that guided his principles and his philosophy. i am also told his whole goal is to set the stage, set the table for the man that comes after him, man of the hour, mitt
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romney. wolf? >> transition to a new generation of leaders continuing to unfold. dana will be on the floor for us throughout the night. much more on what's going on. a huge night for the republicans. historic night. mitt romney getting ready to accept the republican presidential nomination. more on that coming up. there's another story i want to update you on, what's been happening on the gulf coast. the watery disaster caused by hurricane isaac is still unfolding. an urban dam on the mississippi border is in danger of failing. more than 2,000 people live immediately downstream. evacuations have been ordered. crews are making what they call a relief cut in the dam to ease the pressure. the emergency is far from over in plaquemines parish. cnn's brian todd is there on the scene. you rode on a rescue mission. how did that go? >> reporter: wolf, it was a little frustrating for a lot of rescue officials here. they're still looking for
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stranded victims. we went with rescuers in an airboat convoy, one of the few ways to get to them. billy nungesser has little time and too much area to cover. they're on the second day of a search mission trying to find anyone stranded from a massive flood surge. we ride in a convoy of airboats. one of a few ways to reach residents isolated by flood water. >> you staying until the water goes down? >> yeah. >> reporter: in ironton, houses are inundated by water and a grassy muddy sludge. they got three people out of this house in the storm. in places like this, rescuers are looking for signs of people on the roofs, unless incapacitated, they'll come out, let you know they're there. this was all triggered by overtopping of a levee during hurricane isaac. they believe about a 30 mile stretch are under water, meaning
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he and the teams may have to cover 60 square miles. he is already exhausted. >> what do you think you have here? >> unbelievable, déjà vu, man. this is unbelievable. >> reporter: you have been through the oil spill and katrina, how do you rate this? >> there's more water here than katrina. >> reporter: and potentially more people stranded. coming in off the food waters, stopping at billy's house, built this wall to withstand hurricanes, barely holding up, he has 11 survivors staying here. we watched this 65-year-old, handicapped with dementia brought out for airlift. a sheriff deputy says her husband tried to drive her out in the storm. the car was pushed into a flooded ditch. >> then they got on top the vehicle, the water got deep where they had to start swimming. they found a log or telephone pole, was hanging onto that. when it got to the line,
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couldn't go no further. he tied his wife to the pole, and he crawled over to the levee and ran up the levy, came here. >> reporter: how is this to clinging for whatever is not underwater. two cows on a porch, this one on a barbed wire fence, later freed. the humans here were warned. >> reporter: why did you stay when everybody was told to go out? >> we had nowhere to go, no way of getting out. so we stayed together as a family. >> reporter: others who are now stranded said they stayed because they knew it would take a long time to get to their homes. billy says it will be at least a week for waters to recede because they're going to punch holes in the levee trying to bring relief. >> brian todd, thanks. this important note to our viewers.
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the need will be tremendous. impact your world by helping victims of hurricane isaac. find out how by going to cnn.com/impact. back to the news in tampa. a prominent role for some of mitt romney's fellow mormons. we're going to hear from one about putting mitt romney's faith in the spotlight. at 48 past the hour, business as usual, business unusual i should say for some owners in tampa. how the convention is hurting some smallbusinesses. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." [ male announcer ] now you can swipe...
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it has sometimes been a delicate issue in the campaign. mitt romney's mormon faith is expected to be part of tonight's leadup to his acceptance speech.
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gloria borger is here, you did an excellent documentary on this, but you had a chance to go in depth. he seems to be becoming more comfortable talking about his faith. >> yes, he is. and in doing that documentary, wolf, i spoke with someone named graham bennett. he worked with mitt romney when mitt romney was what they call a bishop in the mormon church in his home of belmont, massachusetts. and the mormon church has no paid clergy. when they say bishop, they mean somebody that's actually leading the congregation but comes from the congregation. let's play a little about what he had to say about romney in the '80s. >> when mitt was the bishop, there were about 60 youth in the ward and the expectation is that you interview the 12, 13, 14, 15-year-olds once a year, but 16, 17, 18-year-olds twice a year. so mitt said i'm going to dedicate every tuesday night, i
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am going to arrange my schedule to be at the chapel and from 7:30 until about 9:00 i'm dedicating that to interviewing youth. and so as his counselor, we print out a list of birthdays of the youth. we would then have the responsibility for contacting them, inviting them to come in and meet with mitt. well, over the course of his term as bishop, if you run the numbers, 250, 275 30 minute, 40 minute one on one discussions with members of the congregation, and the discussions are along the lines of how's life going, how is your relationship with your parents, what are you thinking about education, are you planning on college. how are you doing in your own search for faith and for meaning? and it really is in consistently
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following through on that kind of action that i think he made a significant difference. >> yeah. and he's letting reporters come in now, see what's going on. >> right. >> i think this is going to help in the general election. republican primaries, i was always convinced he didn't want to get into that, but now he is feeling more comfortable. the american public is feeling more comfortable. >> he spent, wolf, 15 years of his life leading his church in one way or another, locally or in the state of massachusetts, that's a lot of time, effort, energy. >> very charitable to the church and other causes. >> tithing. >> what does he need to do tonight? >> i have been speaking with people in the romney campaign. they tell me a couple of things. first of all, the big question he needs to face is will people coming away from the speech believe i care about them. they know people understand he is a wealthy man, but they want
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to make the case he understands their problems. they also say they need to understand that he is a man of character. what they have to do, they don't want to move the needle. they don't expect to move the needle that mitt romney will somehow jump ahead in the polls. they want to move the needle on the question of cares about people like me, because that is really dragging him down compared with president obama. >> we will see how he does. we will know soon enough. you'll be with us through the night as well. a speech weeks and weeks in the making. much more on what mitt romney needs to say tonight to win over some skeptical voters. plus, we get democratic reaction live this hour. the democratic party chair representative debbie wasserman schultz of florida is standing by to join us in "the situation room." great shot.
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excitement building for mitt romney's big speech. i'll speak live this hour with congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz, the democratic party chair. also, why some small businesses in tampa will be glad to see the convention close. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." right now, we're three and a half hours from mitt romney's acceptance speech tonight at the republican national convention in tampa. with a nationwide audience of tens of millions, it is a chance for him to seal some positive perceptions and perhaps change negative ones some voters may hold. our chief national correspondent john king is here with us as well. john, what does mitt romney need to accomplish. >> had a conversation with one of his top advisers, he needs to con vens the american people he is uniquely qualified to deal
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with the economic problems in the country now and convince them it is time for president obama to go and he has a better plan to get the economy going. he has some things working to his advantage. look at the battleground states from a national poll. the governor had a lead when voters were asked who would better handle the economy. not as big a lead as romney campaign would like. he has a four point edge over the president. slight edge asked who would better handle the economy. you ask other questions of similar vain, virginia, another big battleground, who has a clear plan for solving the country's problems. romney has an advantage over the president. when they look at the number one issue, who has a plan to solve it, governor romney does well. the problem is the empathy gap for lack of a better term. you move and look at this, when asked questions like this, who is in touch with problems facing the middle class, you see a significant advantage for the president, wolf. a huge advantage. majority of americans think the president is much more in touch with problems facing the middle
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class. that's part of the strategic imperative for governor romney, close the gap. look at this chart when we bring it up. take a minute to zone in. the biggest circles asked them to describe romney with one word. some went beyond, out of touch, but honest, 32. business man, good or bad, depending how you view it. rich, 31. you see this is an odd test. interesting test. some is neutral, some positive, some negative. what the romney campaign hopes tonight, wolf, when people are asked after the plan, they'll say honest, has a plan to get the economy going. >> you understand, john, what work goes into a huge speech like this tonight. share with the viewers what romney and his advisers have been going through the last few weeks? >> it is a three part speech. some part is personal, reintroduce himself. americans know his name, but the obama campaign spent so much money, super pac spent so much money, wants to reintroduce
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himself. who he is, if there's a challenge in the white house, how does his gut and mind work. that's personal. part two, make the case against the incumbent president. bill clinton was the last candidate where you defeated an incumbent president. no easy task, especially when the president is well liked in tough economic times. second part of the speech, governor romney doing most of it, make the case against the president. but they don't believe as paul ryan said last night that's enough. then he has to prove to people his business experience, work at the olympics and as governor makes him. and they believe what they're trying to do is make the case he is uniquely qualified to be the turn around guy to help an economy in trouble. >> john with us through the night as well. thank you, john. let's get more with cnn political contributors. joining us now, democratic strategist, james cargill and alex cost tianna. how does he deal with that when he is associated with words like
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rich and business man? >> he is still rich and business man after this convention. but he has to let them see something else. ann romney threw a pitch the other night. she showed us mitt romney through her eyes. tonight, his job to let us see it through his eyes. what's important to him, what's at his core. that's something that's been a challenge for mitt romney. he is a private man in a public world. that's going to be a hurdle for him. he has to speak from his heart, speak straight. >> you were a brilliant strategist for bill clinton. if you were giving advice, and i know you're not, he is not going to listen, but seriously, if you were working for the romney campaign and candidates, james, how do i do this, fix this, become more likeable. what would you tell him? >> i would say governor this is the real opportunity we have here. what happens in 45 minutes that you're up there is ten times more important than everything happened at the convention combined. and i would say i wouldn't worry about people liking you.
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when you walk off the stage, people that watch that, i want them to say inside this guy has an idea how to fix this thing. he has a way he is going to go about it. he understands what's going on in the country, understands what's going on in my life, and he's got a plan to fix that. if he accomplishes that, the other stuff will take care of itself. now, that's one thing, i asked you to kill superman. not the easiest assignment. you have to be sure you do this, you have to be sure you do that, no. be sure people see you as a man that's aware what's going on in their lives and that people see you as somebody that has a plan to may go it better. if you get that done, you've done a lot. >> any time in a campaign, you talk about humanizing, you dehumanize him. you make him look in the mirrors and it hurts. james is right, the big problem in this country is getting the economy going. there's a fire, put it out. nobody cares whether the fireman
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is their best friend or not but they want to know if they can trust him, and that's what's important. he'll do that by speaking honestly and directly, not warm and fuzzy. >> yeah, you know, and also self defeating. look, people think you're a jerk, prove you're not, okay, you know. >> my advice to him would be advice they gave me when i first started going on television, just be yourself, don't worry so much about the camera, because he is a charming guy, intelligent guy behind the scenes, funny guy, and small groups, i have gotten to see him. when he gets in front of the camera, he stiffens a little. let mitt be mitt. >> i'll tell you a story. first time i met mitt romney in his kitchen. he says alex, mitt romney, good to see you. i would like you to meet my wife ann, and my other wife beth, it was his campaign manager. he has a great sense of humor. he is a delight to be with. >> but it doesn't matter, not good publicly doing these things, not comfortable revealing himself.
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all he needs to do tonight is a simple thing. i understand what's going on and i understand how to fix it and if he gets that done, he has done a lot. >> when ronald reagan was running against incumbent president, jimmy carter in 1980, he asked these series of questions. let me play the clip because on the other side, i'm going to ask both of you if mitt romney should do the same thing right now. >> i think when you make that decision it might be well if you would ask yourself are you better off than you were four years ago? is it easier for you to go and buy things in t stores than it was four years ago? is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? is america as respected throughout the world as it was? do you feel that our security is as safe, that we're as strong as we were four years ago. and if you answer all those questions yes, why then i think
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your choice is obvious who you vote for. >> is that a series of questions mitt romney should be asking right now? >> no. look, obama people may just put him up there and say they want you to go back to four years ago. they think that was the garden time in america. let me tell you what was happening. gm was going broke. bin laden was running around. there was a financial crisis, the stock market was down. have we made enough satisfactory progress, yes. if that idea is where they want to go to some garden time four years ago, i think it would be a big mistake. i mean that. i would leave that alone. that's a question they can answer too well. >> we agree on that. but that's not what they're saying, go back to four years ago, they're saying move ahead, you're not better off than four years ago. last night cnn did a focus group, undecided. the line that scored best for
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paul ryan and his speech? why would you be any better off the next four years than you've been the past four. that was a winner. shouldn't just be a line in his speech, that should be his whole speech. >> paraphrasing ronald reagan's line. >> he asked four years ago. if you want to put it in the future, i think that's a question that president obama has to answer at our convention, what's his plan to make the next four years better, that's very fair. when people talk about here that there was a time when america was this, there are a lot of people in america feel like they weren't included in that time. that's just a dangerous game that the republicans are playing. and they play it too much. >> we're not playing. we're asking why would the next four be any better than the last. that's different. that's what paul ryan asked last night. that's where this campaign is going. we have a shot. >> don't go too far, you will be with us through the night. democrats are reacting strongly to paul ryan's big speech. up next, we speak to the
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democratic committee national chair debbie wasserman schultz. she's here in tampa, will join us live as the convention coverage continues. female annou] sometimes, all you need is the smooth, creamy taste of werther's original caramel to remind you that you're someone very special. ♪ werther's original caramels.
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some harsh charges against president obama by the newly nominated republican candidate for vice president of the united states. let's get some reaction from the democratic party chair, representative debbie wasserman schultz of florida is joining us here in tampa. congresswoman, thanks very much for coming in. and i want to get your immediate reaction in the last hour, i had a chance to sit down with paul ryan, the congressman, a man you know very well. he made some serious accusations against the president. once again, heard his speech last night. here is a clip and i'll get your reaction. >> absolutely not. no, no, no. there's plenty of land to go around. both parties own this problem. yeah. so i have been saying that for
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years. all i would say is president obama made it worse. the debt went up $5.5 trillion in the obama years. more to the point, this crisis is coming closer, already hitting europe, and president obama has had four budgets and four times he avoided tackling the problem. the senate hasn't passed a budget for three years. that's the opposite of leadership. >> all right, congresswoman, that's a pretty strong statement from paul ryan. go ahead and give me your reaction. >> well, unfortunately paul ryan has made a decision to just simply separate himself from the facts and from the truth. in his speech last night, that was evidence where he basically gave an utterly fact free speech, accused president obama of his policies causing closure of auto plants in his hometown that was closed during president bush's tenure, suggesting that president obama ignored the
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simpson bowls commission recommendation, his own commission when paul ryan sat on that commission and voted no and led the republicans in the house on that commission to vote no as well. accused president obama of cutting medicare by $716 million and cutting benefits, not only not true, but also the same savings he included in his budget that romney and ryan have proposed. so you know, the notion that we should actually be honest and factual apparently has been a decision laid aside during this convention week, and that's because underneath the policies they've embraced of allowing the middle class and proposing that the middle class pay for budget busting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, which are policies that dragged us back to the failed policies of the past that got us into this mess in the first place, taking us back there, they know it is unpopular, so they're really going to have to play fast and loose with the facts,
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and that's unfortunate and cynical. >> i did press him on that whole issue of when the gm plant in janesville, wisconsin was closed. the president went there as a candidate in february of 2008. they announced it would be shut in june of 2008 during the bush administration and effectively was shut during the bush administration and i asked him if he wanted to revise or amend his comments on that specific issue. here is what he told me. >> i'm saying he came and made these promises, makes these commitments, sells people on the notion he is going to do all of these great achievements and then none of them occur. they're empty promises that become broken promises, that's the story of the obama economy. he said he would cut the deficit in half in four years. where close. he said unemployment would never go past 8% if you passed the stimulus. it has been above 8% ever since. >> all right. so you get the point of what he's saying. the president did promise if he had the opportunity, he would
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make sure that plant would be open for 100 years, even though it subsequently was shut down during the bush administration. >> look, paul ryan is going to try to distance himself from the fact that he told a lie on national television in front of the entire country and really undermined his personal and professional credibility, given that he is vice presidential candidate and will be the nominee on his party's ticket. it is sad and unfortunate. paul ryan knows that when it comes to the two choices, two paths americans will have, president obama's budget which actually proposes we strike a balance, that we make sure that if you work hard and play by the rules that everyone in america has a chance to be successful, not just people that already are and should pay your fair share, unlike paul ryan and mitt romney's budget which actually increases taxes on the middle class to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. actually turns medicare into a
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voucher system, pulse that health care safety net out from seniors. these are policies that are overwhelmingly unpopular. the only thing left is to resort to lies and dishonesty. even a poll has come out recently that shows that americans are really feeling like the romney/ryan ticket is not honest and there's a reason for that because they clearly played fast and loose with the facts, been called on it repeatedly, and had their advicers say facts aren't important when it comes to this campaign. it is unacceptable and we believe that we should make sure that we debate on a higher plain, and at least compare policies in a truthful and factual way, and that's what president obama and our party has done and will continue to do. >> but he did on certain things, the congressman, paul ryan, now the republican vice presidential nominee was right when he said
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that the president promised to cut the deficit in half over four years. that didn't happen. when he says he promised the unemployment wouldn't go above 8%, it has been above 8% a long time. not on all these things was he distorting the facts last night. >> well, there were plenty of examples of the distortion. but the bottom line is that president obama inherited the largest set of problems of really any president since fdr, and thanks to his policies and the recovery act put a tourniquet on the hemorrhage, stop the bleeding and allow his policies when they take effect to bring us to 29 straight months of job growth in the private sector, without any help from paul ryan and his republican tea party colleagues in congress because wolf, they made it clear they only care about one job, barack obama's. they made it clear consistently that their goal is to defeat barack obama at all costs and they have no interest in working with this president to focus on job creation and get the economy
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turned around. president obama has been essentially doing it himself deliberately with no help from the republicans, and that's not right. i think the american people see and believe it is not right, they think we should work together. president obama continued to encourage our colleagues from the other side of the aisle to come to the table, work together, focus on making sure that we have a president in the white house whose fighting for the middle class and working families and who believes that in america if you work hard and play by the rules, you should have an opportunity to be successful. >> debbie wasserman schultz in her home state of florida in tampa at the republican convention. next time i'll see you, i'll ask you how awkward that feels to be here with all these republicans. >> been fabulous. thank you. >> glad you're enjoying it. how history records acceptance speeches. a closer look at some pitfalls
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the republican national convention is certainly pumping millions and millions into the economy in the tampa area. some small business owners say tight security is actually costing them money. cnn's joe johns joins us to explain what's going on. joe, you had a chance to speak to some of the business owners. what have they been telling you? >> reporter: wolf, they tell me they're hurting. tampa's mayor said he thinks the convention pumped something like $150 million into the city's economy, but people we talked to say they haven't seen very much of it. for the delegates listening in tampa times forum, it is clear republicans love small business. >> behind every small business there's a story worth knowing. >> mitt understands the hopes and dreams of small business owners. >> reporter: those local establishments lucky enough to secure a spot inside the
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convention complex are oh, my g lot of business. >> reporter: take buddy brew. >> iced americano. >> reporter: a tampa coffee shop that has a kiosk in the pavilion. scrambling to keep up with thirsty customers. >> well over 1,000 cups a day. >> reporter: just a few blocks outside the closely guarded security perimeter, it's a dramatically different story. >> i would say it's the worst. we've been open for two years. it's probably by far the worst two weeks since we've opened. >> reporter: the manager at fresh at downtown lunch spot says the big crowds never came, driving revenues down about 80% from an average week. >> we haven't seen the people. where are the people? >> reporter: were you expecting the people? >> yeah, we were expecting thousands and thousands. we were expecting our streets to be full of people. >> reporter: and he's not the only one. a few blocks away, the loading dock pub is deserted during the usual lunch hour rush. it's a shock to the owner who
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stocked her refrigerator with extra food and scheduled more staff this week. >> it's been awful. it's not been business as usual. it's the exact opposite of business as usual. >> reporter: and this kind of unexpected slowdown can really hurt the bottom line. >> it will take me three to four months to get back what i've lost this week. i feel like it's going to take me that long. i'm even struggling for payroll this week. >> reporter: both say the security measures are partly to claim. metal crowd control fencing and checkpoints steps from their floor fronts make it difficult for regular customers and convention goers to get there. another hurdle, no street side parking. that's forced this owner to deliver glasses ordered from her store curbside. >> it's actually now a drive-through store. >> reporter: so you're doing drive-through glasses drop-off? >> yeah, could be a new concept. >> reporter: that type of enterprise isn't enough. she says it's still one of her worst weeks in over 20 years.
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there's been so much disruption downtown, many stores didn't bother to open. this flower shop does a lot of deliveries downtown but they decided, at least today, not to bother. >> clearly those in the downtown perimeter and in close proximity to the secure zone are having some challenges. >> reporter: tampa mayor bob buck horn says he always expected some businesses to always be disappointed because of the security realities of hosting a convention. >> there's nothing i can do. there's the reality. >> reporter: that tight security has resulted in very few incidents between police and protesters. two crowds karen warren would love to see in her shop before the convention ends. >> i'd be very excited. i'd welcome them with open arms and do whatever i could to make them happy. >> reporter: karen had some advice for small business in charlotte at the dnc next week. don't stock up too much. don't hire too much staff. still, there are some businesses around here doing very well. large businesses like hotels for
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example and of course the caterers too, wolf, they're racking up the bucks. >> yeah, winners and losers in this story. thanks very much for that, joe johns. a speech for the history books. we're going to take a closer look at what past nominees have said and what they wish they hadn't. one is for a clean, wedomestic energy future that puts us in control. our abundant natural gas is already saving us money, producing cleaner electricity, putting us to work here in america and supporting wind and solar. though all energy development comes with some risk, we're committed to safely and responsibly
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>> reporting for duty. >> i accept your nomination. >> for president of the united states. >> it's so hard for us to remember this but in the old days, the nominee would be chosen by the convention. there was no way the nominee would be at the convention. that would have been considered very much out of bad taste. it all changed because fdr decided he wanted to break precedence. he had to do something to break the mood of the country which was suffering so deeply under the depression. in 1936, as he was going down the aisle to give his acceptance speech, he shook somebody's hand, fell on the floor, his braces unlocked, his speech smalled out all over the floor. he puts his speech back in order, delivers perhaps the most historic speech, "ran da view with destiny" speech.
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>> i join with you. i am -- >> what an acceptance speech can do is to generate enthusiasm, not just in the convention hall, but in the country at large for the candidate. it sets a tone for the rest of the campaign that i think can really put a person way ahead of where they would be otherwise. >> we have it in our power to begin the world over again. >> one of the things that can be a problem in an acceptance speech is if you make a promise that you then cannot easily deliver on. nixon promised and he thought it was a great energetic thing to do. i will travel to all 50 states. >> i am sick and tired -- >> he was exhausted by the end of the campaign and the kennedy campaign knew if he had fewer states to concentrate on he could easily have won that race. mondale at his acceptance speech said "let me tell you the
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truth." >> mr. reagan will raise taxes and so will i. he won't tell you. i just did. >> just the idea of raising taxes became a terrible thing for him. similar already i whether when bush sr. said, "read my lips, no new taxes," that became a promise that he then broke during his presidency. >> read my lips, no new taxes. >> you have to be careful to not make some dramatic promise that cannot be fulfilled. >> cnn's coverage of the republican national convention continues right now.
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